Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Airport Security vol.213

Our recent sojourn through airport security provided a new angle on the vagaries of the system.
El Presidente's hand luggage was rejected by the scanner so we were invited to 'step this way' and stand by whilst a functionary examined the case. The security chappie was huge - must have weighed at least 160 kg (mostly fatty tissue), about 1.9 m tall, shaved head and covered in tattoos. He set about removing the contents of El Presidente's bag somewhat gingerly and probing it with his explosives detector doodad and eventually declared it safe. I asked what might have triggered the scanner rejecting the case and he replied, "The books -  large amount of organic matter." Hmmm, it had not ocurred to me before that books might be classified as 'organic matter' but any road up, no harm done. (Older readers will be aware that El Prez always takes a ton and a half of books with her when on rest and recuperation leave). So went on our way after exchanging a few pleasantries with aforesaid functionary who turned out to be a big softy despite his appearance.
Of course the irony is that my handbag escaped scrutiny, despite it containing a screwdriver, a spanner, a pair of scissors, a small penknife, a corkscrew, a small metal torch, a metal tape measure and a mini spirit level. And a box of matches. Meanwhile, my hand luggage which contained almost as much organic matter (books) as El Prez's likewise passed through unmolested.
The best we can say about all this palaver is that it is all there for show - a kind of deterrent. I wonder if it has ever detected a real attempt at sabotage?

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